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What I learned while Working at a major Supplement Store: A Vignette

Business was a little slow.  The kind of slow where I had a few choices.  Begin the seemingly never ending journey of binge watching Dexter from the beginning, or do something else.

It just so happened that I was having a hard time keeping up with all the supplements that patients were coming in with.  Each one a new miracle cure for headaches, body pain, weight loss, blood pressure, stress.

I was skeptical.  It’s in my nature.

But like I said, I had time and I was trying to save myself from becoming stuck in one episode after anther…so I applied at the local supplement store.  And was hired.

I took that as a sign.

Every day I walked the isles and read the labels and looked up more information in the “big book” at the front of the store.  I  queried the more seasoned employees.  But more than anything, I talked with the customers.

“How are you feeling when you take these?” I asked.

I got one of two answers back most of the time.

“I don’t feel any worse.”  or “I THINK I’m feeling better.”

That did not sit well with me.

I kept trying to put product in peoples carts, but I had this nagging sensation that I was just wasting their money.  I would use phrases like, “I’ve been told this helps with insomnia.”  Very non-committal.

And then one day, a woman came in who I couldn’t just tow the party line with.  She looked pale, and her coloring was off somehow.  She seemed rigid, tight.  She was gripping the handle of her hand basket.

I walked over and asked if I could help, and she said, “I have a constant headache.  I’ve had one for years.  And I was wondering what I could try?”

And Elisha the healer stepped out of her shell.

“How much water do you drink?” I asked.

“What?”  She looked around the store, maybe to make sure where she was standing…and then looked back at me.

“How much water do you drink a day?”  I asked again.

“I don’t understand your question.” She said.  Looking right into my face.

“It is my experience that people who drink coffee and flavored drinks all day are not hydrating and end up with chronic headaches.  So how much just plain water do you drink a day?”

“I don’t think I do,” she said, more like a question.

“It’s my recommendation that you drink 8 glasses of JUST water a day for a week, and then come back and tell me how you are.  If that doesn’t work, we will jump to plan B. ”  I took her hand cart for her and she looked at me funny.

“Just water?” she asked.

“It’s free.” I said.  “Try for just a week and then come back in.”

She left.


She came back the next week and I almost didn’t recognize her.  Not tight.  Not pale.  Not off in color.  Sheen to her eyes.

She smiled.

“I can’t believe it.  I don’t have a headache.  It’s been five days!”

And the supplement store began to crumble around me.

I talked to as many people in that store as I could.  I recommended most of the time one or more of the following.

1) Drink 8 cups of water a day.  Preferably NOT out of a plastic bottle.  Preferable filtered.

2) High Quality Fish Oil (if you aren’t getting Omega’s from your food.)

3) A good pro-biotic (if there are GI problems or a history of anti-biotic use even back to      childhood.)

Yes, Zinc if you are getting a cold.  With some Vitamin A and C and D.  Mushroom Extracts are AMAZING for immunity.  But really…the rest should be prescribed by YOUR ND.  You should not trust Dr. Oz or Wile to tell you what you need.  Herbs are not toys.  They are real bonafide medicine.  And the last time I checked…most of us weren’t doctors.

But Water, Rest, Exercise…those are the foundations.  Those are the building blocks.  Those we can do.  And I almost guarantee…you WILL feel better.

When someone comes in for an appointment, if after three treatments they aren’t feeling better.  Not healed necessarily, but definitely not feeling better…I try something new.  And if I do that a few times…I admit I don’t think I can help them, and send them to someone who I think can.

When you are taking supplements that you decide on your own you should be taking…if they aren’t making you feel better…you should really think about that.  It’s a big industry, and not everyone plays fair…so watch out and pay attention…and drink more water.

I quit soon thereafter because I got busy again.  But I can tell you…I emptied out my supplement drawer at home….and I have not bought anything since.